The Research, Development, and Acquisition Process for the Beidou Navigation Satellite Program


The Beidou navigation satellite system is regarded as a strategic system intended to diminish Chinese reliance on the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS). Support for Beidou, however, has not always been firm or universal. Early resistance was based on objections over the need to build a system when China was already benefiting from the free service provided by GPS. Financial hurdles also impeded progress on Beidou due to poor economic conditions and resource constraints resulting from priority being given to the human spaceflight program. Improved economic performance and a concomitant increase in funding and the widespread belief among the leadership that China must wean itself from foreign dependence, however, removed these impediments. Today, Beidou is regarded as a strategically important dual-use technology program that is first and foremost intended to enable the Chinese military to conduct modern war but is also recognized as supporting the development of a new commercial industry vital to China’s national infrastructure.


History and Political Science


The Study of Innovation and Technology in China (SITC) is a project of the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. SITC Research Briefs provide analysis and recommendations based on the work of project participants. This material is based upon work supported by, or in part by, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the U.S. Army Research Office through the Minerva Initiative under grant #W911NF-09-1-0081.

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© 2014 University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2014